Where the meanings are
Left out on the street
To find their own way home,
Distressed at their own inability
To recognize anyone who had
Anything to do with their discoveries.
Once, on the top of mountains
Streams began from florid
Displays of weather; snow,
Sleet and freezing rain,
Then rivulets and finally streams
Cutting canyons where entire
Groves of trees might hide
For hundreds of years.
I see you standing by the curb
Looking at the debris wash past,
Your hair wet with rain,
Paper and bubbles, oil and small
Stones, patterns in the water.
We suddenly beheld a great meadow
That seemed to stretch for miles
In a westerly direction and from
Which we could hear the thunder
Of a great waterfall in the distance.
All effort was to reach the
Sound before the darkness came.
Even the horses were alarmed
At the voice of the water,
Where all meanings are.
A SWEET WHISPER
A sweet whisper clipping the tops of waves.
The humidity changing the colors to pastels,
Opening my eyes in already late morning.
I can hear the birds arguing in the palm
Trees. They seem to have important things
To do. Then they abandon the yard.
I am working over the lyrics to a song
I can barely remember. It says that heartbreak
Can be overcome if one stops feeling.
I am amazed at the way afternoon
Lopes into the room, recognizing everything,
But how my heart never quite understands distance.
I begin to sing my own song. There is a
Moment where everything that prompted it
Becomes real again. I can hardly continue.
The birds return and gather near my windows,
Silent except for their beaks tapping the glass.
Near the edge of the cliff
Tiny lights dance in the air.
They are the souls of those we knew
As children, lost to us now.
They seem to move back and forth
And then wink out, only to reappear
Years later in dreams, moments
When we least expect them,
Glowing in the corners.
How we are filled with longing
As they burn the air with
Their lovely energy. We travel
To far places to see them.
We cultivate memories so they
May have food in this state
Of being. You may find yourself
Among them, playing near the border
Of a pond, thinking, the light on the
Water is beautiful. You are eight
Years old. The summer, lean in
Your muscles, the shade trees glistening.
RED WATER AHEAD
Red water ahead. They are biting the
Stars in half down at the corner. The
Flames in the garbage cans burned
Yellow, then white.
About a block away a rain of steam
Locomotives is exploding into the
Ground. Huge sheets of flame and
Clouds of steam light up the fields
Just beyond the fence.
We are not living here any longer.
The long arms of desire run across
Our limbs, begging us to touch
Everything more intimately
But without attachment to anything.
I kiss those places of your body
That remain without names and stumble.
We are assaulted in the forest
And all words are surgically
Removed, like dreams upon waking.
I am able to touch parts of you
That I would never be allowed
To explore without the skein new
Words have armed me with tonight.
I know I will not sleep at all
Without your mouth upon my body,
Explaining the salt, these crusted dreams
They dare to attempt.
STANDING MUCH TOO CLOSE TO THE FLAME
I can smell the murder
Of ten thousand children.
Wax pulls itself toward me
And astonishes me
Without opening my heart.
Everything becomes a map.
How do I know where
I am supposed to be?
They are burning sulfur
When we walk into the room.
I had no idea how to dress.
There was so much happening
I forgot what I was supposed
To think, but I began to suspect
It had something to do with you.
I began shouting into the sloughs,
Watching the devil do that dance
He does. Most things are going away.
I burn my face.
We have recalled what night really is.
It was hidden from us for a very long time.
Its people walked our streets in the daytime.
Look into the wind. Tell us what you see.
The charts don’t show us very much.
There is too much milk racing
Through our blood. You point out
The signal fires, the houses made of bone
Against the sides of the mountain.
This is no a familiar way to travel.
We are used to walking behind the dogs,
Watching what they are doing, checking
Darks that are not the night, holes in the soul
Where we can hear the water rushing below
Our feet, so close and yet so insistent that
It remains hidden. The dogs bark to raise
Those spirits from the soil. They too are milk.
The stones below the surface
That transform the garments.
I can hear it all the way to hell.
I pulled you to me
But I could only
Speak in falsetto,
My mouth filled with stones.
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for this morning's fine fare!